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The motor vehicles industry is extremely sensitive to changes in the economy, and itself has a huge influence on other industries (in terms of the thousands of small to medium businesses servicing the industry), as well as on society generally: the industry is extremely labor-intensive, and personnel fluctuation can affect a significant portion of the population. The challenges it faces are technological, environmental, and financial, among others.
Specifically, here are some of the challenges facing the motor vehicles industry:
Despite widespread use of robots and similar machines, the industry remains human-labor-intensive. Robots still need human supervision, and many operations can only be performed by people.
The complexity of the car manufacturing process makes it difficult for companies to easily adapt to changes in the market. A company must usually choose between improving existing models—which requires less investment, but is not all that profitable in the long term—or creating new models, which involves huge investments in design and marketing, but is more likely to increase profits.
Even unsophisticated vehicles contain thousands of parts and accessories. These are provided by hundreds of suppliers, which have symbiotic relationships with the car makers. Suppliers, in turn, depend on other providers of services or raw materials, which makes the car manufacturing landscape even more complicated.
Motor vehicle manufacturers use networks of dealers to sell cars, components, and services. Managing relationships with dealerships and allocating the right resources (financial resources, inventory of vehicles and parts, etc.) is not an easy task.
More and more car manufacturers are trying to address their customers’ financing needs by creating their own leasing and credit institutions. In order to attract customers, manufacturers need to combine numerous financial instruments—including basic financing, special offers, warranties, etc.—into a range of offers. Managing these financial instruments usually requires two or more software solutions working together.
While there are several specialized software products for the automotive industry, they all have their origins in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) space. Discrete ERP and engineer-to-order (ETO) ERP systems, as well as product lifecycle management (PLM) systems, are the main types of software used by car manufacturing companies.
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